Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I Was A Teenage Fortune Cookie

Haven't quite finished 2001: A Space Odyssey or Bluebeard, but rereading The Bell Jar for the first time since jr. high. It conjures up uncomfortable memories of uncomfortable things like gym class, bloodied underpants, and Saved by the Bell. I tried to reread it freshman year of college but failed. I remember being a bit too scared to read it, but now I'm not sure if I was scared of Esther Greenwood's past or my own.

It's funny, somehow or other, to think of what does and doesn't scare you when you're 13. I remember sitting in the cafeteria asking friends how they'd do it, if they had to kill themselves. I remember thinking this was a perfectly reasonable and appropriate question to pose over a lunch of greasy pizzas and pretzels dunked in processed nacho cheese, it didn't seem the least bit upsetting or unpleasant, it was just simply a question, much like asking, if you could be any animal, what animal would you be? There were much more practical things to be frightened of, like the boy in art class who liked to incessantly remind me that he did not think I was the least bit pretty. (This always seemed silly to me for a variety of reasons, one of which was that the boy was over 250lbs and not terribly pretty himself, but then, you don't try to explain the concept of irony to someone whose entire wardrobe consists of Megadeth t-shirts.)

I'm getting sidetracked.

But my point is, that it wasn't the pills or nooses or the breakdowns that worried me. There were other pieces of the book that were far more sinister and mysterious. I began to panic about whether or not boys' exposed crotches really did look like turkey gizzards, and if girls truly did make a bloody mess afterwards. There wasn't anyone to ask, of course, and these questions seemed as fascinating and impossible as trying to figure out what made a Ouija board move.

It's almost disappointing, somehow, that the book doesn't scare me a bit this time. There's something really jarring in realizing that being madly in love is utterly dependent on the time and the place.